Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,115th day of the pandemic.
In news we cover today, Hollywood studios will end coronavirus safety measures, President Biden will sign legislation ending the national pandemic emergency, and millions will be removed from Medicaid rolls in the United States once states begin to check eligibility again.
President Joseph Biden said he won’t veto a measure that would end the national coronavirus emergency order weeks earlier than he had planned. Despite his opposition to the faster time frame, he will sign the bill into law, which will end the national emergency declaration issued by then President Donald Trump in 2020.
In California, the Los Angeles County Covid-19 emergency will end Friday as infection rates fall to a 20-month low there. Barbara Ferrer, the county public health chief, said that emergency orders are no longer needed “to ensure we have and can use life-saving tools and mitigation strategies.”
Across the country, millions will be removed from the Medicaid rolls. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law last December as the pandemic continued to ebb, instructed states to restart eligibility checks of every person currently on Medicaid. To remain on Medicaid, individuals will have to fill out forms to verify address, income, and household size, among other details.
Hollywood studios will drop their coronavirus safety measures as federal and local emergency declarations end. The change brings about an end of strict pandemic-based safety rules meant to stem the spread of the virus on sets.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the country is at risk of a monkeypox surge that will be worse than last year’s, based on models developed at the CDC. Currently, most jurisdictions have low levels of vaccination coverage against the virus, also known as mpox.
Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, March 31.
As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 683.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.2 million from the previous day, and 6.83 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 656.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.1 million from the previous day.
The reader should note that infrequent reporting from some sources may appear as spikes in new case figures or death tolls.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday at press time is 20,265,072, an increase of 60,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,225,159, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 39,913, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past five months.
The United States reported 135,520 new cases in the period March 16 through March 22, a figure that is down 29% over the same period one week earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll for the same period is 2,060, a figure that is down 2%. The average number of hospital admissions from Covid was 5,738 on March 28, a figure that is down 8% over the preceding 14 days. Finally, the test positivity rate is 7.1%, up 1% over the 14 days preceding March 25.
Starting on March 25, 2023, the Morning News Brief began to update case data as well as death tolls on a weekly basis.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded 106.2 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.15 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,867.
The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July, the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 823,623, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States. Rosstat last reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July 2022, down from 5,023 in June, 7,008 in May and 11,583 in April.
Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, with 39.9 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with over 38.3 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 700,239, has recorded 37.3 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.
The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are Japan, with 33.5 million cases, South Korea, with 30.8 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.7 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.4 million, and Russia, with 22.6 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, over 269.9 million people in the United States – or 81.3% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.4%, or 230.4 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 674 million. Breaking this down further, 92.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 238.1 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 79% of the same group – or 204.2 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 20% of the same population, or 51.6 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of vaccine, while 23.1 million people over the age of 65, or 42.1% of that population have also received the bivalent booster.
Starting on June 13, 2022, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish the updated information on Fridays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 69.8% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.36 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 599,278 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 28.5% of people in low-income countries have received one dose, while in countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.
Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain at or below 10%.
In addition, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea in late September, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.
Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)